Good Intentions

by Kelsi in , ,


 

I am big on goal setting, or rather intention setting. Goal setting was a big thing when I was a kid training as a rhythmic gymnast. “Finish in the top eight” or “make the national team” might have been the thing for that year. The focus was always on the outcome. But as I’ve grown and acquired a bit more wisdom, I am way more interested in setting intentions and the actual process of doing or learning something than accomplishing a task in and of itself.

Intentions allow us to be fully present and also provide room for change, growth, mistakes, and joy. I am big on “respecting the process” and apply that mantra not only in my own life but also in how I parent and how I teach in the Pilates studio - “We are not trying to do something perfectly or move in a perfect way. The intention is what matters - moving with intention, reaching with intention, standing with intention, looking with intention.” I talk about it every day.

I’ve always loved this passage from Maria Popova’s “10 Learnings”:

Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living.

This year I want to really focus my intentions on my (and in turn our) financial life. More than just monitoring our spending (thank you YNAB!) I want to really change my spending habits and be even more thoughtful in all aspects of our spending and consuming life.

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My “remove from cart” mentality applies not only to impulsive online shopping but to all our spending and household necessities.

We rarely eat out but good quality local food is expensive and our monthly grocery bill is large. So beginning this month I set an aggressive grocery budget on You Need a Budget and I already know that around January 23rd I’m likely going to be hitting the ceiling. And when that happens, I’m going to play with only cooking from the pantry and cleaning out the fridge and see how far I can stretch it. I like a good challenge.

As I was thinking about all this, the January newsletter from PCC arrived with “Food Waste” as the primary issue - “If you don’t buy it, you can’t waste it.”

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My favorite place to write down all of my intentions, not just in January but throughout the year, is in a Moleskine notebook

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With a fresh Micron pen

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Polentina alla Toscana

by Kelsi in ,


 

This was a lovely meal to welcome the New Year. And proof that simple can be extraordinary. It is from David Tanis’s One Good Dish.

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POLENTINA ALLA TOSCANA

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 large onion diced

1/2 pound carrots peeled and diced

4 celery stalks diced

1 large fennel bulb trimmed and diced

salt and pepper

1 medium leek trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch squares

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup polenta

6 cups chicken broth

1/2 pound Tuscan kale

1/2 teaspoon grated or finely chopped garlic

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Leaves from 1 rosemary sprig

In a heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and fennel, season generous with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or so, until barely softened. Add the leek and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the polenta, stirring to distribute it, and raise the heat to high. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and allow the soup to simmer for about an hour; the broth should be just slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Meanwhile, wash and roughly chop the kale. Drain in a colander but do not dry. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the greens, stirring as they begin to wilt. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes more. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the kale. Sprinkle with the finely chopped rosemary, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan if desired.

 

December 31

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

It has been a spectacular week of rest and celebration. And we’ve spent so much time at home, our little clan of three, finding immense joy in just being together. We’ve had more than a few days of lighting a fire and then never leaving this spot for the entire day…

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On Christmas Eve dear friends joined us for dinner. The kitchen was sparkling clean and the sun was shining…

We took the kids to the park for some fresh air and then came home, opened a bottle of Champagne and our friends put together a spectacular clam chowder with smoked marrow from Ox in Portland. Even without the smoked marrow, I’d make this my default recipe for chowder or even an elevated potato soup. It has a hefty amount of cream so it is rich, but without any flour or roux it isn’t thick but instead broth-y and pretty darn special…

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For dessert I made a flourless chocolate cake and my new favorite holiday cookie, grapefruit-fennel shortbread. (Side note: shortbread are incredibly easy to make gluten-free as they depend on butter rather than gluten as the binder. I subbed brown rice and oat flour for the AP flour.)

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There were also small, but delightful discoveries this week like giant pyramids of Maldon in the salt dish…

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And I have a few favorites among the gifts I gave and received this year, starting with these Starry Knight booties I found for my niece. My son had a similar pair that I loved. They are the perfect shoe for little feet that are just learning to feel the ground beneath them…

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I bought matching Grace Lee diamond disc bracelets for myself and my bestie - a pretty good upgraded friendship bracelet if I may say so. And I love that whenever I catch sight of it, I am reminded that she’s out there in the world…

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I also upgraded my rather tattered robe with this beautiful waffle weave one from Coyuchi

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I mentioned Askinosie Chocolate in my holiday gift guide. I bought a few bars to give as gifts, but to be honest they never made it out of my house. This Askinosie vegan milk chocolate is hands down the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Just incredible…

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I also fell hard for these Zwilling Madura nonstick pan. (I now have the 8” and 11”.) Bon Appetit proclaims it “the best nonstick pan we’ve ever used.”

We got rid of all of our chemical laden non-stick pans years ago and had a single 8” Greenpan for the sole purpose of making Spanish tortilla. However when we redid our kitchen, that little pan was the only one that wasn’t compatible with our new induction cooktop.

I am happy to say I can once again cook tortilla española but these pans have also been wonderful for making hashbrowns and fried rice and since we don’t have a microwave, reheating leftovers like pasta…

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I bought two of these extra-large LL Bean hunter totes that were perfect for toting gifts to and fro…

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Plus they have a coated lining so they wipeout and clean up like a dream. I think the large size would make perfect grocery totes…

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And the one thing I really hoped to receive this year was a pair of these short Hunter Chelsea boots (thank you in-laws!).

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Happy 2019. Wishing you peace and joy into the New Year.





 

The Only Pie Crust You'll Ever Need

by Kelsi in


 

For most people, even seasoned bakers, making really great flaky pie crust feels intimidating. Over the years I’ve learned a lot from pie classes at The Pantry, I’ve used a pastry blender, the fraisage method, the food processor and I think without question, Stella Parks’s “No-Stress Super-Flaky Pie Crust” recipe and method is the most accessible and foolproof way to do it, even if you are a complete novice and have never attempted pie crust before.

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The recipe can be found in Stella’s fantastic book Bravetart as well as the Food 52 Genius Desserts book which I think hands down is one of the best books of the year.

Watch this great video on how to do it on Food 52 and find the recipe here

Now what if you wanted to make a gluten-free version that could stand up to the all-purpose flour one and no one could tell? Impossible you say? Not any longer. Enter Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s Alternative Baker which has actually been out for a couple of years but is completely new to me.

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There are so many talented people who are reimagining and redefining what it means to bake gluten-free. Many are trained pastry-chefs. Liz Prueitt of Tartine fame is one. Her book Tartine All Day is really great. And Aran Goyoaga (who’s second book comes out next fall where she’ll help us all make gluten-free sourdough bread that looks like this) has been a long-time inspiration with her blog and book Small Plates and Sweet Treats.

It is completely possible to bake pretty much every cookie and cake that you can imagine and that you wouldn’t tag with a “these taste gluten-free” label. Really stellar, flaky pie crust however, at least for me, has been a little more elusive, until last week…

I used the gluten-free all butter pie dough recipe from Alternative Baker which is also available on Alanna’s great blog The Bojon Gourmet. However instead of using the fraisage method she favors I simply used Stella Parks’s technique to make the flaky layers. I wrapped the dough and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour and then proceeded.

And now I can’t stop. I made Pamela Salzman’s salted maple apple galette over the weekend…

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Next up is this savory potato radicchio galette I’ve had bookmarked for months…

Image via    New York Times

Image via New York Times

Go forth and get your pie on!

 

My Wishlist...Holiday Edition

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

I would love to open my closet and see this gorgeous Paris Jacket from Emerson Fry hanging in there…

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I have long wanted a Japanese style pinafore apron and this one from Rough Linen is perfect. It even comes in a petite option. I’d love it in the charcoal…

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The lovely back…

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I would also like a proper waiter’s apron

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I think this Cotopaxi Kusa Hybrid Jacket is super cool…

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A duffle bag is one of the few styles I don’t have and this rad Brown Buffalo Duffalo fits the bill…

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I am in love with this Clare V belt bag in disco stripe…

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But the truth is I already have a Clare V fannypack that I love so what I think I really “need” is the Clare V Midi Sac

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I’ve been looking at this Everlane cocoon coat for a long time…

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My side table is already stacked with books but I think if I had Educated I’d move it to the top of the pile…

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How to be a Good Creature would have been on my list if I could have waited and didn’t already purchase it for myself…

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And I have long wanted to learn how to sew and here in Seattle, Drygoods Design is the place to do it. A gift card here might ensure that I finally carve out some time in the new year to take a “This is a Sewing Machine” class

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Holiday Gift Guide

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

It is December! We don’t have a tree yet and I haven’t started playing holiday music but I think today might be the day it all begins. And with that, here are some ideas for giving this year…

Billecart Salmon Champagne is my most favorite thing to imbibe ever. It is special and only makes an appearance once or twice a year around our house but I can’t imagine a more elegant gift…

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Except if you brought it with a vintage Champagne bucket

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These beautiful Heather Taylor Home napkins would be a fantastic hostess gift. See all of the options on her website

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Chocolate from Askinosie would make another lovely hostess gift. I have my eye on many of the CollaBARation bars and this coconut milk chocolate. If you don’t know about Askinosie Chocolate read their story here

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I love these Maison Louis Marie candles and picked up a few at Canoe last time I was in Portland. I love No.09 and No.04

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I also love these Cotopaxi Libre socks in a variety of colors…

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This delicious and assertive G. Day body wash is great and reminds me of a more unisex and a cleaner (read: no SLS, parabens etc) version of the Molton Brown Black Peppercorn wash my husband has long favored…

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This gorgeous and super soft alpaca sweater from Everlane

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My brother worked on this Brooks shoe and I wore it for the first time at the studio last week and nearly every client wanted a pair for themselves. They are that cool.

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My husband has a pair too that are equally as cool…

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This gorgeous book from The Aviary in Chicago would be a killer gift for your food-forward friends…

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A pair of these Heath Tartine stack mugs

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This gorgeous walnut rolling pin for the baker in your life…

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Pair it with the fantastic Genius Desserts from Food52

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I cannot recommend Pamela Salzman’s cookbook highly enough. I’ve mentioned her on my blog many times. She has an incredibly resourceful blog and teaches countless cooking classes in the LA area (and now online classes too). She is a natural teacher and her recipes are always accessible, reliable, healthy and delicious. She is my go-to.

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New this fall, Ottolenghi’s Simple is fantastic. I’m gifting it to several friends this year.

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I LOVE these balm sticks from Olio E Osso out of Portland, Oregon. I have them in several colors and they give a beautiful flush of color and feel wonderful on the skin. I buy mine from Ayla Beauty in San Francisco. It’s a wonderful little shop that I like to support and they carry so many of the lines I love like Marie Veronique, BioRecept, Kosås and others.

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For a young girl or boy in your life a subscription to Bravery Magazine

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I love these beautiful tattoos which are pulled from Oliver Jeffers’s gorgeous books…

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I gave his book Here We Are to all the children in our family last year, though I’d recommend it for adults too…

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Also, consider giving to an organization you believe in. I will be giving to On Being

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On a Sunday

by Kelsi in , ,


 

We are coming off of a restorative long holiday weekend at home. After a quiet Thanksgiving, we haven’t left our house since. Lots of time for reading, movies, baking and of course getting started on handwriting exhaustive Santa wishlists (my son).

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We are finishing the rest of our leftovers this evening for dinner. I love using these Kohler silicone mats as trivets. They also roll up so storing is a breeze…

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And a different type of silicone mat, this one has been great for doing crafts this weekend - painting, Perler beads and even Legos…

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I’ve also done a fair share of online shopping, some gifts but mostly taking advantage of the sales to stock up on my usual staples like these Uniqlo cashmere sweaters. They are my most favorite and I wear one almost daily. They wear and wash well and you can’t beat the price. They do run a bit small and I like to size up in this style (for reference I’m usually a small but order these in a large)…

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I also added the Alternative Baker (from Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet) to my cookbook library this week and it is already indispensable. I’ll have more to say later in the week but it completely changes the game on making gluten-free pastry dough and pie. OMG.

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And some words of wisdom to take with you into the week…

This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.
— Dalai Lama
From    here   .

From here.

 

Gratitude

by Kelsi in , ,


 

With profound gratitude on this day, Happy Thanksgiving.

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Messenger

by Mary Oliver
 
My work is loving the world. 
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — 
equal seekers of sweetness. 
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums. 
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
 
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? 
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me 
keep my mind on what matters, 
which is my work,
 
which is mostly standing still and learning to be 
astonished. 
The phoebe, the delphinium. 
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture. 
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
 
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart 
and these body-clothes, 
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy 
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, 
telling them all, over and over, how it is 
that we live forever.

 

Free Solo

by Kelsi in ,


 

Last year I simply posted this when news broke that Alex Honnold had climbed El Capitan without ropes. You can now go see the film about his awe-inspiring achievement…

On June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold free soloed the Freerider route of El Capitan in three hours and 56 minutes. It wasn’t an act of recklessness but of the kind of planning worthy of a moon landing. It wasn’t an act of selfishness but an extraordinary gift to everyone who believes that the limit of human achievement is far from being reached. It wasn’t a useless stunt but a reminder that utility alone is a poor way to measure the grandeur of one man’s spirit.

From here.

 

November 4

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

Last Friday I had the day off so after we dropped our kids at school, my friend Megan and I had big plans…a 1000 piece puzzle and making Samin’s salad from that last episode. M dubbed it “Friendship Salad.” There is a lot of joy to be had in cooking side by side and sharing a good meal. It was a fine day.

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I love this puzzle by the way. I’m a sucker for fonts in general but these collage puzzles are super satisfying because you can constantly make progress - the perfect balance of challenge/reward. I just picked up this one too

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I am excited to host a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year and have been starting to think about what I want to cook. I like to roast chickens instead of turkey and am going to go heavy on the vegetable sides this year. I just bought these gorgeous Staub baking dishes in matte black that I can’t wait to put on the table…

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Before Thanksgiving, I’m putting one of them to use to make this dreamy cauliflower from David Tanis. He’s so great and I love his latest cookbook Market Cooking that my friend Rita gave me for my birthday…

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

I also just bought a second Instant Pot, an 8 quart this time, to keep up with my stock making this year - though I’ll have no trouble putting two to use for more things than stock. Homemade stock is a game changer for everything and the Instant Pot really makes it quick and foolproof. I love Melissa Clark’s chicken and vegetable stock recipes. They are included in her newest book, Comfort in an Instant, as well as her original Dinner in an Instant

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I’m also starting to play with baking gluten-free bread and this is a great starting guide

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From making stock and baking bread, I’m all about cooking for cooler fall weather. But I also love dressing for fall too and have happily transitioned my wardrobe. My uniform is pretty much always a sweater, jeans and either hightop Vans or ankle boots. And my most favorite jeans right now come from AGOLDE. Even if high-waisted jeans go out of fashion, I will never go back! These are perfect…

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And these

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Lastly, I love everything about this look. I need to find that sweater…

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